04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
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Seven takeaways from Tuesday: Bost's leadership, Ragland's self-scouting, Benfica 2-0

MIES (Switzerland) - Four games were on this Tuesday, played in Turkey, Israel, France and Spain. Galatasaray Nef, Hapoel Atsmon Holon, SL Benfica and BAXI Manresa got their wins, but what were the main takeaways of the day?

We've picked seven of them, because this is Season Seven of the Basketball Champions League. In case you missed the previous edition of the Seven Takeaways, here's the link for Tuesday and Wednesday.

#1 Dee Bost, the ultimate leader

Galatasaray Nef are up to 2-0 after their 86-71 win over Legia Warszawa in Istanbul, in a game that was much closer than the final score suggests. In fact, teams were tied at the end of the third quarter, and Legia actually led by 7 at the half.

That's when Dee Bost happened. Don't look at the stats for a moment, ignore the 15 points, 11 assists and 3 steals. Bost's most important play of the game came during the halftime break.

Moments before the teams were headed back to the benches, Bost gathered all his teammates to a huddle at the free throw line to the left basket in the Sinan Erdem Arena.

"(I told them) the same thing as in every game. Let's show who we are. Let's fight. Let's just play hard and react. It's like, every half we start slowly, so we just had to react now, that's all," Dee explained it after the final buzzer.

Basically, he talked the talk with his teammates. Then he walked the walk.

Down 54-55 late in the third, he had his trademark steal, reading the passing lane, tipping the ball up twice in the air, then running full court and diving to save it just before the line. Two passes later Angelo Caloiaro had an and-one, Galatasaray took the lead and the momentum of the duel.

Because Bost is a smart guy, he knows that a play like that could ignite the crowd. And once the crowd in Istanbul gets involved, it feels like the fans are guiding Sadik Kabaca's or Dylan Ennis' threes through the air, through the rim, through the net.

He's a leader. He promised the fans the team will bounce back, he delivered. On to the next one, Dee. Right? Right.

#2 Sugar Ray is a highlight reel

In the NBA world, when they have multiple games on every night and it feels impossible to keep track of what's going on around the League, you have folks who are helpful enough to tweet stuff like "League Pass alert" when somebody is going crazy, hitting shots left and right and delivering crossovers or dunks on demand.

We should invent a kind of (Basketball Champions) League pass alert for Ray McCallum and Legia Warszawa. The 31-year-old has been around, from the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, through adventures in Spain, Turkey, China, Israel, Germany and France, all the way to Poland.


With the way he played his first five games for Legia in the PLK and BCL, it seems like he found home. Some drives are so sweet we called him Sugar Ray last week, now he's capable of hitting those right-dribble stepbacks falling out of bounds while still having full control of his toes to get behind the three-point line and make the shot.

Janis Berzins had 21 points for Legia, but Ray's 17 were like a highlight reel. Not saying he's the best guy on the team, just saying it's so fun to watch him when he's hot.

#3 History for Joe Ragland

Over the past decade, Joe Ragland has been one of the best passers in European basketball. Teams know that, opponents know that, but every now and then, Joe likes to go crazy with the scoring, too.

He had 40 points against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in the Israeli League just last May. And the scouting report definitely says when the game is on the line, Ragland will try and create for himself, for the win.

Best example: Last season's BCL Quarter-Finals, game on the road against SIG Strasbourg. Down by one in the final minute, he hit a stepback three for the lead. Strasbourg responded, took a one-point lead, and Joe went to the same spot, from the top to the right 45, to get a pullup two for the win.

When Filou Oostende were down 81-79 in the last minute, and saw Ragland had the mismatch and the isolation on the exact same spot as in the SIG Strasbourg video up there, of course their scouting report said: Watch out, he'll try to score.

Problem is, Joe reads his own scouting reports, too. He had 31 points on the night, he knew everybody is expecting him to force up a shot. So he opted for a pass - a beautiful one, too, finding Marvin Jones somewhere in the stratosphere.

Just like that, game over. Another perfect decision in a game close to perfection. Ragland scored 30+ for the first time in a European continental competition, taking Hapoel Atsmon Holon to an 88-83 win over Filou Oostende. With 31 points and 13 assists, he had an efficiency rating of 43, just four short of BCL's all-time record, and became the first player in BCL history to have 30+ points and 10+ assists in a game.

#4 Filou Oostende found another gem

Here's a tip. If you see a young international player coming to Europe and one of his first stations is Filou Oostende, chances are you're witnessing a star in the making.

Think JR Holden. Think Matt Lojeski. Think Phil Booth. Think Tonye Jekiri or Corey Walden. And now add Breein Tyree to the list.

The 24-year-old shooting guard fits into coach Dario Gjergja's schemes perfectly, he finished with 26 points, 6 threes, 5 assists and 3 rebounds.

He's finding his groove, but these 26 in Holon and those 35 against Heroes Den Bosch in his first official game in Europe are a sign Oostende are onto something, again.

#5 Road warriors Benfica

Jayvon Graves jump shot made it 65-58 Limoges CSP with 5:51 left in the game against SL Benfica. That should be enough for a one-time European Cup winner, a club with so much history, against a newcomer like Benfica, right? Wrong.

Benfica's defensive effort was praised after their first game with 15 steals in Riga last week. Led by Ivan Almeida's unbelievable wingspan and hand speed, they got 12 steals in France this week, compared to 5 for Limoges, and they forced 17 turnovers.

Five of those 17 came in the final 5:51 of the game. Four of them also being Benfica steals.

To steal the show once again and complete the comeback, the Portuguese champs handed the ball over to Toney Douglas, who knocked down his only field goal of the game for the win.

It finished 68-67, Limoges had a chance to tie it with three free throws, but Wes Clark missed the last one. Almeida secured the rebound and threw the ball way up in the air so that time runs out and the celebrations start as Benfica are up to 2-0.

Both of their wins were on the road, too! They are already the feel-good story of the season, just two games in...

#6 History for Dani Perez, too

BAXI Manresa blew out VEF Riga 88-59, and it was a passing masterclass by Dani Perez, who decided he needs to get all of his teammates involved. The lefty point guard needed just 21:30 of action to dish out 10 assists, almost getting more than the entire VEF Riga team (11) on Tuesday.

That's not the historic part, though. With 0 points scored, Perez became the fifth player in BCL history to finish with 0 points and double digit assists.

  • Dusan Djordjevic had 0 points and 12 assists for Oostende v Cibona back in 2017;
  • Ferran Bassas did it for Tenerife v Fribourg Olympic with 10 assists in 2018;
  • Phil Pressey had 0 points and 10 assists for Besiktas v Oostende in 2019;
  • Omar Cook finished with 0 and 11 assists for Hereda San Pablo Burgos v Oostende in 2020.

Oostende witnessed a lot of those, yes.

#7 Gaps forming in Groups C and F

With this competition format, all games count. First-placed teams will advance straight to the Round of 16, while second- and third-placed teams are moving to the Play-In Series which will be played in January 2023.

The pairings are pre-determined by the draw. Meaning, we already know teams from Group A will face Group B teams in the Play-In Series, teams from Group C are matching up with Group D, and so on.

With just two games gone, Groups C and F are taking shape. Galatasaray Nef and Hapoel Atsmon Holon are up at 2-0, Filou Oostende and Legia Warszawa down at 0-2 in Group C. BAXI Manresa and SL Benfica are 2-0, Limoges CSP and VEF Riga 0-2 in Group F.

How big of a hole is 0-2 for, let's say, Limoges? First place seems far away from them now, meaning they can start scanning proceedings in Group E for a potential Play-In matchup. That's where MHP RIESEN, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, Darussafaka and Bakken Bears stand.

Sounds like a nightmare neighbor, especially if you don't finish second in your group, to at least book home court advantage in the Play-Ins. Mountain to climb for Limoges and VEF, absolutely.